Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Guest Student Blogger: Report Back on Dover/ID Event at the University of Pittsburgh

Lauren, University of Pittsburgh undergraduate student, blogs on last night's talk by Vic Walczak, Legal Director of the ACLU of PA and lawyer in the Dover Trial

After Vic Walczak's well-attended presentation of the Dover Intelligent Design Trial last night, I felt that not only people concerned with the separation of church and state, but also people concerned with education, should be happy about the verdict. I was excited to see so many students present at the event, as they are the ones most affected by tampering with the educational system.

After the science teachers in Dover decided they would not read the four paragraphs that denounced evolution while singing the praises of ID, the decision was made to have an administrator read them at the beginning of the evolution curriculum every year, interrupting the class. Walczak emphasized that under this ridiculous situation:
"the students couldn't ask questions about ID and the teachers couldn't and wouldn't answer any."
Any administrator who thought that made for a good learning environment was wrong. In fact, it's that type of environment for which my fellow college students and I are inclined to give nasty evaluations at the end of the semester.

It has not been so many years since I took biology, and I even have retained much of what I learned. I remember dutifully taking notes on the birds in the Galapagos Islands whose beaks, Darwin guessed, were different because they had to adapt to food sources on each island.

The talk by Vic Walczak drove home the point of the importance of learning, as he had to learn a lot even for the sake of the trial. Walczak explained how he encouraged witnesses to explain evolution in a way that non-scientists--as both he and Judge John E. Jones were--could understand. It benefits no one to learn less, whether the mechanism is book banning (I loved 1984 and To Kill A Mockingbird) or curriculum gutting. I think the school board lost perspective and put their personal religious beliefs over the importance of a rigorous education.

In an age of competitive education, I'm glad we have judges fit enough to rule against teaching information that, as one of the expert witnesses perfectly quoted, "makes kids stupid."


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11:44 PM  

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